2017 CD REVIEW
LOVE AND WAR (ARISTA-SONY).
BRAD EXUDES PAISLEY SENSE OF HUMOUR
“Using a fake ID at a college bar/ getting caught with a girl in the backseat of a car/ running out on the field for the senior game wearing number 17/ there's a last time for everything/ like a George Strait cassette in a Pontiac/ I tell 'em Super Cuts, let's leave it long in the back/ wearing the tux at a high school gym/ and she's wearing your class ring/ there's a last time for everything.” - Last Time For Everything - Brad Paisley-Smith Ahnquist-Brent Anderson-Chris Dubois-Mike Ryan.
Nostalgia is a creative catalyst that Paisley exploits with a cameo by famed actor David Hasselhoff in the famous KITT car from eighties TV show Knight Rider.
It also includes the original Ghostbusters mobile, his red vest in honor of Back to the Future's Marty McFly and grainy Super 8 footage of high school football games and a tree fort with “no girls allowed” hand painted signage.
Paisley 's wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, broke the ban by appearing in the video dressed as a 12-year-old girl.
Brad's self-deprecation peaks as he reveals his own shortcoming.
“I've got two little boys. Somebody said, ‘Can you still hold your oldest?' I said, ‘no, he's too big,' explained Paisley whose eldest was named Huck, now 10, after Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn fantasy.
“They said, ‘When was the last time you held him?' and I didn't remember. There was just a point when you didn't pick him up any more because it hurt your back. And that song is - daily, I'm realising stuff that it's like, ‘Oh, that's it for that.'”
Paisley also honours Santa, the late Grand Ole Opry icon and video guest Little Jimmy Dickens, Eagles star Glenn Frey, Texan George Strait and other important influences in his time travel.
“I started getting this idea to create an entire feature-length movie around the songs in this album because each of these songs is very important to me,” Paisley revealed on the eve of the release of his album.
Paisley persevered with the visual album project despite initial skepticism from his record label.
“They have no idea how right they were,” Paisley joked, “because this should have never worked. We did a lot of this in the last month.”
The 15 music videos for Love and War's songs together make a cohesive movie, split into five chapters.
In addition to the video for Today that showed military families being reunited, marriage proposals and onstage baby gender revelations Paisley also drove home a different message in The Devil Is Alive and Well .
That video was filmed in the remains of a Nashville church that was destroyed by a fire.
“Is there any better way to represent that?” Paisley recalled someone asking him.
“I said, ‘No, there's isn't' so we ask if we can film in front of it. We're standing there, and they tell me as I'm standing there - I just figured it as an electrical fire - but they tell me it was under arson investigation, which is even worse.”
JOHN FOGERTY FIRES UP LOVE AND WAR
“He was nineteen when he landed at Bagram/ scared and all alone/ he lost a leg and a girlfriend/ before he got home/ and they say all is fair in Love and War/ but that ain't true, it's wrong/ they ship you out to die for us/ forget about you when you don't/ he was nineteen in '68/ after all this time/ that broken boy is now a broken man/ waitin' in a VA line.” - Love And War - Brad Paisley-John Fogerty.
Former Redgum singer John Schumann is best known here for his anthemic Vietnam War tune I Was Only 19.
But it's a different John - former Creedence Clearwater co-founder Fogerty - whom Paisley joins to write and perform on his title track that explores a similar subject.
The song's video was shot in and around San Diego , California - a busy military hub - with some footage on the USS Midway.
Paisley intends to use the clip to raise awareness about treatment that veterans receive and to offer respect to heroes who have served the United States.
Paisley called the song “one of the more important things I've ever said.”
“I'm so honored to say it with John Fogerty,” Paisley added.
They explore the exploitation theme as they swap verses in a fiery delivery.
“They call 'em decorated heroes/and pin some medals on their chest/give 'em a tiny little pension/could we do much less?”
Paisley kicks off his album with Heaven South - the song reprise is also the disc finale.
Paisley wrote Heaven South with Brent Anderson and Chris DuBois and invited fans to help him film the video in Franklin - a Civil War town south of Nashville .
Heaven South celebrates the joys of small town life with farmers, tractors, kids on a bus and, of course, the love of a southern belle who rings for the singer's character.
Paisley also wrote Drive Of Shame with Matt Clifford and Mick Jagger after he opened for the Rolling Stones at their 2015 Nashville stadium concert in 2015.
He also jammed with the rock legends on Dead Flowers during their set and previously opened their Philadelphia 2013 show.
Paisley collaborated with R & B-hip-hop artist and producer Timbaland on Solar Power Girl - a personal struggle followed by redemption.
“That song is written about a girl who comes from a really bad situation and finds her way out,” Paisley explained.
“I love that song and what it says. I had a story in my mind of a little girl who lived that, so it's nice to see it on the screen.”
The song's accompanying music video is comic-esque, first in black and white and then in color.
Paisley received a little bit of help from the crew of South Park to bring it together.
“I have good friends over there. They're fast,” Brad confessed.
“I said, ‘I've got some drawings, but if you guys could bring this to life.'”
The rollicking bluegrass fuelled Grey Goose Chase also features Timbaland.
MAMA TRIED ONE BEER CAN - BUT THE INTERNET IS FOREVER
“Come on, you ought to know better/ the Internet is forever/ making out with your professor/ the Internet is forever/ naked with an Irish Setter/ the Internet is forever/ smoking in your 3rd trimester/ the Internet is forever/he said his name was Heather/ the Internet is forever.” - selfie#theinternetisforever – Brad Paisley-Jim Beavers-Chris Dubois.
“I feel like country music is so relatable to people,” Brad explained, “and it can take so many forms, so why be pigeonholed with the simplicity of audio when you can pair it with something creative? I hope you'll laugh, I know you'll cry. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.”
Go To Bed Early also has a hedonistic joy but the flippancy of selfie#theinternetisforever soon morphs into a deeper warning to self-obsessed social media mavericks.
Yes, those Selfies exposing bestiality, smoking during the third trimester, professorial dalliances and coffin curios have an eternal shelf life and can return to bite the vanity vamps via vampires and other predators.
Paisley names his troll bait Heather - yes, the cloud ghost posing as a nubile nymph but more likely to be a pedophile parasite or boarding school bully in wolf's clothes.
Or even an undercover cyber cop untangling an international web of deviant droogs preying on gullible geeks.
GOLD ALL OVER THE GROUND
“I'd pick you up and carry you across every stream I see/ and I'd bundle you in kindness/ until you cling to me/ we'd sit beneath strong branches/ my arms would twine around/ I'd turn your green to emerald/ and your skies full diamonds/ and give you gold all over the ground.” - Gold All Over The Ground - Johnny Cash.
Brad also pays homage to the late Johnny Cash with Gold All Over The Ground - a song resurrected from a poem by the man in black.
The video of the song - a tribute to the love story of Johnny and June Carter Cash - was filmed at the family's old log cabin and latter day Cash Cabin Studio operated by their son John Carter Cash.
It's also an intimate look at the Cash family's personal life, combining footage from Paisley's visit to Cash Cabin Studio with old clips of Johnny and wife June Carter Cash, their family and artifacts stored there.
Gold All Over the Ground takes its lyrics directly from a poem Cash wrote about June in March of 1967.
Paisley adds a simple guitar line, mandolin and backing harmonies to create an evocative song about giving it all for the one you love.
It was first published in 2016 in Cash's posthumous poetry collection Forever Words and first of Cash's poems to be set to music.
Paisley also includes snippets of Cash speaking at both beginning and the end of the track.
“John Carter Cash brought me that to finish, he brought that actual scrap of paper,” Paisley recalled.
“It was in Johnny's writing and there was something totally magical about it.”
Equally memorable is Paisley 's collaboration with veteran singer-songwriter and Country Music Hall Of Famer - Whispering Bill Anderson, 79, on Dying To See Her .
Whispering Bill , like Shotgun Willie, has not let time tamper with his songwriting and mentoring of younger peers creating a rich ever growing catalogue.
Anderson provides guest vocals on their song with memorable lyrics - “she was his reason for living/ she was his rock and his best friend/ they'll be reunited in heaven/ cause he's dying to see her again.”
Paisley celebrated his album release with a show at the famed Tootsie's lounge in Nashville with cameos by Bill, Fogerty and Timbaland.
Sadly previous video guests Little Jimmy, Andy Griffith, George Jones, William Shatner and Buck Owens could not return to their church of choice for the launch.
Paisley has landed two songs in new Disney movie Cars 3.
Both Paisley tracks Truckaroo and Thunder Hollow Breakdown are instrumentals featured during an action-packed scene at the Crazy 8 demolition derby.
Paisley also contributed songs to the Disney/Pixar franchise's other films.
Behind the Clouds and Find Yourself are in Cars and Collision of Worlds and Nobody's Fool are in Cars 2.
The Cars 3 soundtrack is set for release on June 16 - same date as the film's U.S. national release.